By Rick Kahler via

How do you spot the investment opportunity that will become the next Apple, Facebook, or Microsoft? Certainly they are out there. Someone is going to discover them and be set for life, so why shouldn’t it be you?

Here’s why it shouldn’t.

As with all Registered Investment Advisors, the amount of money I manage for clients is publicly disclosed information that anyone with an Internet connection can find. Because of that, I am seen as the gatekeeper of a source of funding for every underfunded business opportunity that is sure to become the next Apple. I get to see a lot of proposals. Many have promise at first glance. But the promise usually fades the more I dig into the proposal, ask questions, and do the math.

After hours and hours of investigation, every few years I see that one proposal that looks really good. One that calls to me to invest, that really has the promise of being a winner. When all the stars and the planets align, I know I now have a 90% chance of not making a dime on the venture.

That’s why I have learned to save my time and my money when I am approached with “the next big thing.” I just don’t have time to investigate every project and cull hundreds of opportunities down to the one that has a 10% chance of succeeding. I see it as looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Certainly, there’s a needle in there somewhere. But examining every piece of hay in order to find it has a significant monetary cost.

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